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Cablegate: Agricultural Trade Implications of Upcoming French Eu

VZCZCXRO8341
RR RUEHMRE RUEHSR
DE RUEHFR #0514 0781708
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181708Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2314
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
INFO RUEHXQ/ALL EUROPEAN UNION POST
RUEHMRE/AMCONSUL MARSEILLE 1985
RUEHSR/AMCONSUL STRASBOURG 0558
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2828
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 6626

UNCLAS PARIS 000514

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

BRUSSELS PASS USEU FOR AGMINCOUNSELOR
STATE FOR EBB; OES; EUR/ERA;
STATE PASS USTR FOR MURPHY;
USDA/OS/SCHAFER/CONNER;
USDA/FAS FOR OA/YOST/JACKSON/ROSADO;
OCRA/CURTIS/ALEXANDER;
ONA/RIEMENSCHNEIDER/YOUNG;
OFSO/LEE/YOUNG;
EU POSTS PASS TO AGRICULTURE AND ECON
GENEVA FOR USTR, ALSO AGRICULTURE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD PGOV WTRO EUN FR INR
SUBJECT: AGRICULTURAL TRADE IMPLICATIONS OF UPCOMING FRENCH EU
PRESIDENCY

REFS: (A) 2008 PARIS 000342 (B) 2008 PARIS 000078


1. SUMMARY: France will seek to use its considerable influence on
agricultural policy to affect the direction and pace of CAP reform
as well as to broaden the consideration of biotech dossiers at the
EU level. France's influence could have negative trade implications
for U.S. agriculture in several critical areas. High level U.S.
policy engagement with France on these issues well in advance of the
July-December 2008 French presidency would help manage negative
fallout. END SUMMARY

2. In a major speech last month, President Sarkozy emphasized that
the 2008 CAP health check done under the French Presidency should
lay the groundwork for a more complete and in-depth reform of the
CAP in 2009, rather than wait for the 2010 budget discussions for
implementation in 2013. One of his four stated goals for CAP reform
is increased EU food security. He stressed that strict EU sanitary,
environmental and welfare regulations should also apply without
restrictions to imported products. Sarkozy also emphasized that EU
Community preference should be the basis for a new CAP(REF A).

3. Ag Minister Michel Barnier recently told a group of Embassy
representatives that France will press for phytosanitary
harmonization, which will result in the application of more rigorous
standards to products imported into the EU. Barnier also emphasized
"Community preference," stating that it will become more difficult
to export to the EU (but that France would offer technical
assistance to countries in need). When questioned about the
President's and Ag Minister's statements about Community preference,
a high level MinAg official stated that in many sectors (e.g.
livestock) Europe cannot open its borders too much, without
destroying its domestic industry.

4. Another area of concern is biotechnology, where France recently
announced a moratorium on planting of MON 810 based on the findings
of an interim High Authority on Biotechnology(REF B). In a departure
from previous practice, MON 810 was reviewed not only by a
scientific body, but also by a "civil society" body composed of
laypeople. It is clear that France will seek to export this model
to Brussels. In a recent statement before the Council of
Environmental Ministers, the press reported that French Minister of
Environment Jean Louis Borloo proposed scrapping the EU's present
system for authorizing genetically modified crops for tougher
standards which would take into account a wide range of
environmental and safety factors. Under the French proposal, a
multi-disciplinary and independent assessment would be used to
consider proposals for authorizing GMOs, rather giving sole advisory
authority to the European Food Safety Agency. Under the French plan
food safety concerns would be considered alongside issues such as
the farming economy, soil deterioration and effects on other crops.

5. France plans to organize a European seminar on biotech and
biodiversity in Paris next October to lay the groundwork for
proposing such reforms to the EU biotech evaluation process.

6. COMMENT: Post will continue to raise U.S. concerns on these
issues with our interlocutors. However, it will be important to
pass the message at the highest levels that decisions on
biotechnology and SPS issues should be made on the basis of science
and that the imposition of new trade barriers would be a step in the
wrong direction. END COMMENT.

7.More detailed commentary on France's agricultural initiatives will
follow in the coming weeks.

STAPLETON

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